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Protected osprey, wounded by pellet gun in Florida Keys, euthanized

Ohio man faces animal cruelty charges in shooting

(Getty Images)

KEY WEST, Fla. – A protected osprey that was wounded by a pellet gun in Key West in August has been euthanized, a local wildlife center said.

"The bone tissue at the fracture site was dying and was likely to cause systemic problems. ... The difficult choice was made to euthanize the bird this morning," the Key West Wildlife Center said in statement Thursday.

According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Josiah Fetzer, 22, of Ohio, was working aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum on Aug. 22 when he fired a pellet gun several times to scare the osprey away from the mast of the ship. Fetzer told FWC agents that he didn't intend shoot the animal and employees often used the pellet gun to scare away birds.

Fetzer faces charges of cruelty to animals and violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Osprey are considered a state species of special concern in Monroe County. Anyone who kills or harms a special concern animal could face felony charges under state law.